This is the first collection of beautifully dark fiction from one of the most promising new writers in modern horror. This book features Bel's brilliant 'The Mannerly Man" from THE DARKER SIDE anthology edited by John Pelan as well as stories from numerous other anthologies and magazine appearances. Also contains many never before published pieces all illustrated by Erik Wilson and features an introduction from David J. Schow.
"Caustic, classic, classy, nasty, elegant, relevant post-punk horror for people who give a shit."
— China Miéville, author of PERDIDO STREET STATION, KING RAT and THE SCAR
"DANGEROUS RED is purely and simply one of the five best horror collections I've ever read in my fuckin' life."
— Edward Lee, author of CITY INFERNAL and INFERNAL ANGEL
"Readers of Gothic.net and the long-late and still lamented CARPE NOCTEM may be more likely to recognize Mehitobel Wilson's byline from her nonfiction — reviews and columns and commentary and whatnot, all of them revealing a superb command of language, more than a bit of attitude, and an intelligence sharp as a razor fresh from the strop.
"Fortunately, Wilson has also been channeling these attributes into a quietly growing but vital body of fiction. Her most high-profile appearance so far, from John Pelan's second DARKSIDE anthology -- and included here -- has been "The Mannerly Man," which postulates a nation in which everyone has the legal right to commit one murder. By beginning the story well after the initial surge of vengeance killings, she's able to dissect the brittle civility and constant underlying tension permeating a society in which everyone is terrified of offending someone else.
"Incisive stuff, and it's no fluke. The leadoff piece, "Tools of the Trade," explores death's aftermath in a most unique way. It consists of a series of vignettes that culminate in an untimely fatality, which are laced together by the observances of (and hardware needed by) the cleanup specialist called in to decontaminate the scene after the remains have had anywhere from two hours to more than a month to decompose. It's sad, it's messy, and it's deeply unnerving.
"Like many a writer before her, Wilson exhibits great sympathy for misfits, malcontents, and other outsiders, indulged poignantly in "Jacks" — poignantly, that is, for a techno-industrial love story — and with a much harder edge in "Strays." This one blends the mystery underlying a series of urban animal mutilations with an unsentimental portrait of gutterpunks who are every bit as much throwaways as the animals are. But the lengthiest and most detailed treatment of this theme is in the novelette "Growing Out Of It," an unsparingly harsh allegory of what happens when you're forced to either evolve into a responsible adult or remain mired in a desperate limbo of terminal adolescence. With few skills, little direction in their lives, and even less ambition, the story's three friends seem doomed to bad ends; yet when their bodies start to expel the relics of their old existence (some wonderfully grotesque imagery here) and turn them toward more productive, socially-approved lives, the last thing it feels like is triumph; instead, it's just another form of death.
"Wilson is a skilled observer of more than just life's bottom tiers. "Beautiful Truth" — which mostly takes the form of an advice column Q&A — is a lacerating indictment of a culture fixated on surface appearances. Similar scorn is heaped on the cult of celebrity in "Madeline In Effigy," while the sexual violence and possessiveness of "Blind In The House of the Headsman" could happen in any bedroom, anywhere...and is all the more disturbing here for the dispassionate way it's presented.
"DANGEROUS RED's thirteen stories and endnotes are supplemented by Rorshach-like illustrations and an intro from David Schow, but these are just bonuses. It's Wilson's show from start to finish, one that's all the more impressive for the way she retains firm yet agile control of her material, something you can't often say about a first book. DANGEROUS RED should move Mehitobel Wilson to the front rank of names that can be relied on to automatically render future titles worth the price of admission."
— Brian Hodge, author of WILD HORSES and THE CONVULSION FACTORY